Global TV Tech Buzz: Facebook Home

18% of time on a mobile is spent on Facebook.

Is it any shock then, that as Facebook tries to increase monetization of mobile that they would release their own platform, Facebook Home.

“Today we’re finally going to talk about that Facebook phone,” Mark Zuckerberg announced at the Facebook campus earlier this week. “Or more accurately, we’re going to talk about how you can turn your Android phone into a great, simple social device.”

Mark Zuckerberg is quick to say this is not a Facebook phone. A successful phone would reach maybe 3% of Facebook’s 1 Billion strong user base. Instead, the company has developed an experience for the Android platform that will help it reach mobile users and give them an immersive Facebook experience with Facebook Home.

From the moment you turn on your phone, you see what your friends are doing. Even with the phone locked, the screen will still show photos, updates, and messages. You can chat with friends in any app with something called Chat Heads.

“The home screen is really the soul of your phone,” Zuckerberg said. “You look at it 100 times a day.” And so, naturally, Facebook is going for the soul.
via The Atlantic

On the surface it looks beautiful, and a great step for easily the most used social network. BUT, (and you knew there was a but).. can you trust Facebook?

Facebook Home is not a story about “making the world more open and connected,” in general,” The Atlantic warns. “This a story about Facebook “making the world more open and connected,” with all the specific definitions the company brings to those ideas.”

Om Malik writes, “Facebook’s history as a repeat offender on privacy, and playing loose and easy with our data means that need to be even more vigilant about privacy issues, thanks to this Home app/faux-OS.”

Malik doesn’t believe Zuckerberg when he says this is a platform and not an app. He says it is the first hit of a delicious drug that will be free at first, the public hooked, and the true costs only to be revealed later with a full fledged OS.

The Atlantic notes that during his presentation, Zuckerberg freely substituted the words “people” and “Facebook friends” throughout. It was almost as a way to suggest that they are one in the same, and the way we look at the world should be through the lens of Facebook.

In fact, Facebook Home should put privacy advocates on alert, for this application erodes any idea of privacy. If you install this, then it is very likely that Facebook is going to be able to track your every move, and every little action.

GPS is enabled in our phones, and with Facebook controlling the information that you send back, it can quickly learn where you live, where you work, where you hang out, and what you do. Honestly? Any phone can really do that, but you have to trust the company and with Facebook there is already a level of trust that has been broken numerous times. Facebook will monitor location data through Home continuously UNLESS you turn off location services. Trust me, you’re not going to keep flipping that switch off and on.

Zuckerberg has said Home will serve ads, in the way Amazon Kindle does. With so much personal information about you through your profile, and movements, expect those ads to be very targeted, and worth a lot of money.

The first Facebook phone, will be the HTC First, but other HTC and Samsung phones will be open to using the Facebook Home platform this Friday. Zuckerberg says Facebook Home will only be available for Android users because of the openness of the system.

We’d love to offer this on iPhone, and we just can’t today. And we will work with Apple to do the best experience that we can, within what they want, but I think that a lot of people who really like Facebook — and just judging from the numbers, people are spending one-fifth of their time in phones on Facebook, that’s a lot of people — this could really tip things in that direction. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

I deleted Instagram when it was bought by Facebook, and I try to put as little personal information as possible in to the social network. I use it as a way to creep on friends, but I rarely post photos or personal stories directly to the network. I don’t like a lot of pages, and I try to keep my presence as minimal as possible.

The end game for Facebook is simple: to know as much as it possibly can about you to serve you perfectly targeted ads. The idea is that Facebook becomes your friend, and those sponsored stories in your stream become so relevant because of all Facebook knows about you, that you won’t even notice. That is when Facebook wins – when the disruptive nature of ads disappears. Home is another step towards that finish line.

APP OF THE WEEK TSN Masters [free]

My single favorite seasonal app has to be the one from TSN and The Masters. It streams coverage from Amen Corner, allows you to follow specific groups around the course, and gives you a chance to watch The Masters from anywhere. TSN and Global will pool resources to produce original highlights both before and post rounds on location. The app was updated this week to support the retina displays.

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